EB-1A Visas For Foreign Nationals With Extraordinary Ability
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EB-1A – Extraordinary Ability – 8 C.F.R. §204.5(h)

Portions of the content on this page are available as public information on the USCIS website.

Criteria for Eligibility

The EB-1A immigrant visa category allows individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim to sponsor themselves for an immigrant visa (an offer of employment is not required for this visa classification).

Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 204.5(h)(3), in order to demonstrate that an applicant qualifies for “extraordinary ability” he or she must present evidence that they have either received a one-time, major international award (Oscar, Pulitzer, Olympic Gold Medal, Nobel Prize, etc.) or 3 of the 10 listed criteria below:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Evidence of membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts
Once the above criteria has been established, USCIS will then consider the totality of the  evidence provided to perform a ‘Final Merits Determination’ where the foreign national must establish:
  • A sustained level of national or international acclaim; and
  • A level of expertise that places the applicant among a small percentage of individuals at the very top of the field.

Application Process

After evidence is prepared, an immigrant visa petition is filed with USCIS. After approval, if the foreign national is in the United States in a valid visa status, they are able to file an application to change their nonimmigrant status to permanent resident status when they become eligible for an immigrant visa (based on their country of birth and specific immigrant visa category).

If the foreign national is outside of the United States, they can proceed with Immigrant Visa processing through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. The foreign national can then enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident upon approval of their immigrant visa and availability of visas (based on country of birth and specific immigrant visa category).

Family of EB-1A Visa Holders

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of foreign nationals of approved EB-1A visas are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence.

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